A new video clip was produced by the MUCH MORE project to promote its learnings - how to meet with your client. Check out the video from here.
Alcohol is an important risk factor that has significant impact on health deterioration and premature death. According to the Centre for Disease Prevention and Control report (Prevalence and Effects of Alcohol Use in Latvia in 2017), alcohol addiction has increased slightly in 2017 when according to data there were 1634 alcohol addiction patients who were undergoing alcohol addiction treatment for the first time or 84.1 cases per 100 000 inhabitants (in 2016 - 1511 patients or 77.1 cases per 100 000 inhabitants). Considering that alcohol abuse is one of the risk factors for public health, socio-economic development and security, it is clear that this is not just a problem for the rehabilitation centres solely, but a problem for the society as a whole.
The project "MUCH MORE” has established close cooperation with two non-governmental organizations – rehabilitation centres in Latvia "Nova Vita" and "Integration for Society". These are two rather different rehabilitation centres because of their clients and approaches but they serve the same aim - to help people with addiction problem to live sober life and accept that addiction is a disease. For example, the organisation “Integration for Society” helps one of the most socially vulnerable groups - men with prison experience and addiction problem. This organisation which has been almost twenty years of work experience has established successful approach to rehabilitation and re-socialization of their clients, helping them to recover physically and spiritually. The rehabilitation centre “Nova Vita” focuses its attention and activities towards daily life and community work, studies of Holly scriptures, revival of spiritual life and living life based on "12 Steps to Freedom" program. The group activities on regular bases carried out within the project “MUCH MORE” are of great support to the overall recovery process. They allow to understand that cooking and healthy nutrition could be simple and attractive as well. Regular physical activities provide motivation to stay active and physically developed and art therapy workshops encourage to look deeper and better understand oneself.
In general, the number of people who undergo treatment from alcohol addiction is growing because majority start to understand that they will not cope with it themselves. At first the addicted person meets with a narcologist or pays a visit to the Minnesota 12-step program. There are quite many persons who want to continue their rehabilitation process after they have finished the program and then the organisations which provide social rehabilitation services for addicted persons are of great support. When staying at the social rehabilitation centres with addictive illnesses, the motivated clients change physically and mentally, therefore emotional support provided by the group members and community principle is important for individual development. Perhaps even the theory from the books does not give as much as human contact and sharing with each other about their previous and recovery experience. Strengthening one's beliefs and confidence in the group, the addicted person is on the way to recovery because during the resocialization period he or she will also have to face different people, challenges and temptations. The project “MUCH MORE” confirms that regular group activities are very important and make an important contribution to the recovery process, as well as highlighting the importance of the rehabilitation centres and need for their development.
Text by Aija Vecenāne, City of Riga Welfare Department
When a person struggles with alcohol or drug addiction, substances often become the person’s only means of feeling pleasure or contentment, both physically and behaviourally. The goal of addiction treatment and rehabilitation is to help the user once again receive pleasure and enjoyment from everyday activities, without the need for substances.
The target of the project “MUCH MORE” is to develop and test new approaches and techniques by combining art therapy, practical healthy nutrition and cooking classes with physical activities in order to maximize the physical, mental and emotional wellness of these men. Physical activities can be a great way to relieve stress, anxiety, frustration and anger. They also allow people to reconnect with hobbies they enjoyed as a child, or discover new “healthy obsessions”.
“I consider that all the workshops are useful but especially I prefer healthy cooking classes. Information received makes me understand that people in Latvia do not eat healthy. They consume too much food which could be substituted by other products. I really have got to know a lot of new information. Also art therapy classes are attractive. I got to know some instruments that I did not know that they even exist!” says Romans, Riga.
“I prefer most of all physical exercises” emphasizes Eriks and tells that he and his “peer group members” at the rehabilitation centre “Nova Vita” (Riga) have serious attitude towards sport. Through physical activities they learn to understand that people need to move and be active. At the same time he admits that the trainer is strict and requires that the tasks are carried out exactly in the manner they are demonstrated. And it is not easy at all. At the same time Eriks also adds that he has learned some new exercises which he tries to do in the mornings by himself.
The trainer of the group Agrita agrees that it is not an easy task for her to plan physical exercises for this special target group because “these men are so different - some are very weak, some are stronger, their degree of strength is so different. And this is understandable because of their past experience with alcohol.” During physical activity classes she explains the benefits that come with any type of exercise.
The Project tries to support these men as much as possible. New t-shirts, gym bags, water bottles and cups are those small things that might provide enjoyment, satisfaction, self-esteem and in a long-term help finding new ways to fill their time.
By Aija Vecenāne, City of Riga Welfare Department